Bringing readings or pre-class activities into the classroom (virtual or real)

How often does the task you set for outside of the live session, get used during the lecture or tutorial?

Could asking students to do something, but not giving them any opportunities to use, discuss or extend what they have discovered be demotivating?

 

How frustrated do you feel when you’ve spent some time developing a great presentation or topic for a meeting and the items before don’t stick to their time, so you don’t get the opportunity to present it? It feels like wasted effort. If it happens once, you might roll with it, but if it happens every time – at some point you might stop preparing for the meeting. This strategic choice about how to use time, is what many students are making each time they choose not to complete a task. They may have had experiences where they did all the work and it didn’t help, or wasn’t actually needed so they stopped doing it.

 

When designing your course and assigning tasks for students to do outside of the classroom think about:

  • How you are going to use the task or knowledge acquired in class?
  • How are students going to get real-time or rapid feedback on their understanding?
  • How long it will take your student to complete the task?
  • How it contribute to their professionalism and professional identity
  • What other ways students could acquire the knowledge

 

Rather than assigning chapter 3, as pre-reading for the 5th week consider being more specific, you don’t need student to rote learn all the information in the 30 page chapter, but figure 4 might be really critical, and the first 5 pages are actually revision from a previous subject.

 

Examples:

This week we are moving on from <previous topic> and looking at how <new topic> might present in <professional practice example>. In the tutorial you will be working in groups we will be looking at <XXXX>. To make sure you can contribute skim Chapter 3 and either attended the lecture or watched the recording before attending.

 

In Chapter 3 – the first 5 pages of the chapter should be revision from last semester <course>, focus your attention on sections 3.4.6 and figure 3.4. During the tutorial you will be working in groups to solve problems relating to <topic>.

 

By focusing on the link between the preparation and activity and the activity to be completed together, students are more likely to attend the session prepared. By being clear in your expectation and setting a reasonable workload students will be able to more fully engage in the tasks you set. Presenting examples from or linking to professional practice, or how this task relates to industry can support students in their motivation to learn and the focus or attention they bring to completing the task.